Assorted links

1. The reality vs. the rhetoric, multiple lessons in this one.

2. John Fahey documentary (trailer) on the way (Kickstarter funded), and on YouTube here is Fahey’s Poor Boy.

3. Stephanie Coontz tries to rebut claims of male decline (though I don’t think she quite confronts the “matching model” being used here).

4. The economics of video games.

5. The 2012 Gramophone Award winners.

6. Venkatesh on community policing.


#6. I always wonder why US states don't play a bigger role in policing.

In Australia, local governments don't do policing at all, whereas the states are large enough to handle major cases. In I suspect they have more resources than the Feds. I have no idea what effect this structure has an community policing.

From #6

crime has grown more complex and stiff federal penalties are often necessary deterrents.

Are American federal penalties stiffer than all state penalties? Why is it that state lawmakers are always softer; is there a political reason?

Thank goodness we have less community policing and an increasing federalization of policing. Because we don't have enough people behind bars.

Radley Balko and many others have written about the increased criminalization of more activities.

"You Commit Three Felonies a Day: Laws have become too vague and the concept of intent has disappeared."

From Wikipedia:
On January 1, 2008 more than 1 in 100 adults in the United States were in prison or jail.[13][14]

In 2008 approximately one in every 31 adults (7.3 million) in the United States was behind bars, or being monitored (probation and parole). In 2008 the breakdown for adults under correctional control was as follows: one out of 18 men, one in 89 women, one in 11 African-Americans (9.2 percent), one in 27 Latinos (3.7 percent), and one in 45 Caucasians (2.2 percent).

Most states spend between 1/2 and 2/3 of their general fund budgets on public safety. A little of this is fire, a bit more is corrections, but the bulk is cops.

Note that this excludes grants and mandated pass-throughs like Medicare, Medicaid, UI, etc. That's pretty standard for any analysis of state budgets... you only analyse what the governor and legislature can control.

How can one draw "multiple lessons" from the Kaiser-Sanchez dispute if all we have is the appolgy for offensive words? (The inadvisability of using vulgarity in a dispute can hardly be an important lesson of this; our parents taught us that some years ago.)
Superficially there does appear to be something wrong with a selection procedure if only one person from a huge ethnic group has ever been chosen for some kind of honor, but without more information about the honors, who has been chosen before and why, it is difficult to assess Mr. Sanchez's grounds for complaint and Mr Kaiser's response.

Thanks for the Fahey link. Love that guy. Anyone else who does would be well advised to check out M.Ward if they haven't already, especially his early stuff. The Fahey influence is evident.

This is pretty cool. 'Mathematics at Google'

Should we just do away with honors and prizes?

#4 The economics of video games

That's a fascinating article. Currently there aren't enough Massively mulitplayer economies to generate a whole lot of data. But the number will almost certainly be increasing in the future. And in an on-line world an idea that turns out badly won't cause any real world harm. So a lot of ideas that would be too risky to test in the real world, won't be too risky at all for a video game.

Keep in mind that the game profiled, Eve Online, has 400,000 players. World of Warcraft has millions. That's a whole different scale of data than you can get by rounding up college students for an economics lab. I suspect will see a Nobel Prize in Economics from some economist in the future from research based on virtual environments.

#3 The Myth of Male Decline

The contents of this article seem to contradict it's own headline. The actual thesis of the article seem to be, "Men were previously artificially propped up by a patriarchal society." Which is probably true. The article itself supports the idea of a "male decline", as barrier's against women have been removed. So titling the article "The Myth of Male Decline" seems highly misleading.

It’s really good material to read. I like it.

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